Tony France comment: BMN Leading Lights – Brexit Special

Tony France, Sales Director Ibstock is BMBI’s Expert for Bricks.

Despite a large amount of Brexit related uncertainty in the construction industry, both brick production and despatches grew to the highest levels in a decade in 2018 as demand continued to increase. This year also appears to have got off to a good start, despite some reports of slower than expected housing sales.

Adding new capacity has been a priority for the whole industry over the past few years, however GB brick stocks are at relatively low levels. It’s therefore important for the industry to improve schedule accuracy so manufacturers can provide a more reliable service with greater certainty of availability and supply.

We’ve seen a significant increase in brick production – in 2018, GB brick manufacturers produced 8% more bricks than in 2017, enough to build around 18,000 houses. Ongoing capacity enhancements by GB manufacturers means total production should increase by a further 5% or so this year, enough to match anticipated GB demand in 2019 without the need for increased volumes of imported bricks or alternative products.

Ibstock Brick manufactures all our products in the UK, so as a company we expect to be largely unaffected by Brexit, regardless of the outcome. Virtually all our employees are UK nationals too, so we’re confident that our manufacturing capabilities will not be impacted by any people movement restrictions that may be imposed.

We have invested significantly in increasing our capacity in recent years, for example our new £54m Eclipse factory is now at full capacity producing 100 million bricks a year, and in 2019 Ibstock will produce over 800 million bricks from our 21 UK factories. We are confident that we will be able to meet demand after Brexit.

Most of our raw materials and packaging are sourced from our own quarries or from within the UK. The few exceptions are where products and engineering spares are imported from the EU or further afield, and to address this, we’ve built-up good stocks of these items so we’re confident of ongoing continuity of supply of our finished products.

Regardless of the Brexit outcome, Ibstock Brick will continue to invest and our priority remains to provide customers with a high-quality product range, manufactured in the UK and supported by excellent service.

Read the full report here.

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Launched in 2015, the award winning monthly Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) report is the only reliable measure of repair, maintenance & improvement (RMI) activity in the UK. Filling an important gap, it can be widely used in construction, and by economists, Government, national media, commentators and influencers outside the industry.

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